Laptop Mag Verdict
Sleek, stylish, ultra-lightweight, durable, and packed with so many health and fitness benefits, I barely remembered it’s also a good smartwatch.
Up to 7 days of battery life
Lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable
Excellent fitness and health tracking
Limited to quick replies to texts
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Display: 1.04 x 0.86 x 0.57 inch AMOLED
Mobile Payments: Yes (Google Pay)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
Battery: 7 days
Water resistance: 50m (164 feet)
Size: 1.45 x 0.91 x 0.44-inches
Weight: Case 15 grams, with band 66 grams
The Fitbit Charge 6 is an excellent, affordable wearable option at just $159.95. Its sleek, ultra-comfortable design just might be my favorite. Sure, I wouldn’t have picked the Coral-colored unit that our beloved managing editor Sean Riley thought would look wonderful on me, but I’ve come to love that aspect of the Fitbit, too.
Currently, tons of smartwatches are available to choose from, and most are solid, with Apple Watch garnering the most attention. However, having the Fitbit Charge 6 on my wrist for six days straight without charging it won me over. Also, the latest Fitbit has inherited improved heart rate accuracy (60% improvement) and Google app support for YouTube Music, Google Maps, and Google Wallet from the Pixel Watch, thanks to being purchased by the tech giant in 2021. With the ability to pair with specific gym equipment over Bluetooth, such as devices from Peleton, Nordic Track, and Tonal, the Fitbit Charge 6 has not only grown on me but has extended its capabilities.
When you add improved sensors and software, I’m sold. I really expected to have a less-than-stellar experience with the Fitbit, the color, the super lightweight watchband, the software, all of it. I thought I would despise this tracker/watch/health device. Maybe it’s because I am still learning to like fruit and take better care of myself. Maybe it's because deep down inside, I knew this tiny Fitbit Charge 6 might nudge me to change for the better cause it did. Let me share how it achieved that.
Fitbit Charge 6 price and configurations
The Fitbit Charge 6 is affordable and starts at $159.95. It delivers on functionality and sturdiness and arrives with many premium features for that price. The Fitbit is one of the most affordable fitness trackers/smartwatches. Its closest competitor in price, quality, and features is the Apple Watch SE Gen 2, which is available for $199. Fitbit makes several smartwatches that are comparable in price, like the Fitbit Versa 2, and the Fitbit Sense, but those are closer to an Apple Watch or Wear OS smartwatch in functionality and start at $299.
Fitbit Charge 6 design
The Fitbit Charge 6 comes in three color choices: Silver Case with Porcelain band, Black case with obsidian band, and Champagne Gold case with Coral Band. I got the Coral (thanks, Sean), and it’s grown on me.
However, if I wish to change it, it's super easy, as I learned when I had to switch out the small band for the large one because I have wrists the size of horse ankles. The overall design is slim, sporty, and ultra-lightweight, it is the first fitness tracker/ smartwatch I’ve been able to fall asleep wearing. I have struggled with sleep apps because most wearables are uncomfortable, not the Charge 6, it feels like it’s a part of me.
When I opened the box, I didn’t pay attention to anything other than knowing I had to switch out the band. All you have to do is use your thumbnail to flick the little lock nub, and the band slips off. Place the new band against the side and pop it in. It will lock into place. It takes seconds to make the switch. The silicon bands are not my favorite, but they’re incredibly durable and lightweight, which is what you want when working out and moving about your day.
On the left, we find the new function button, which you can call up the screen, select functions, and reset the device. It features excellent haptic response and is combined with a touch capacitive sensor on the right side of the tracker, which works to help the user have finer control of the Fitbit and apps like Google Pay. Also, it allows you to quickly reset the device. The wristband design grew on me, and literally, after a day of use, the Fitbit Charge 6 became one with me. It just feels like it has always been there.
The Fitbit is definitely a fitness tracker with a side of smartwatch, and it never tries to fool you into thinking otherwise. However, if I had the obsidian band with the Champagne gold case, it would look elegant, and I would wear it with pride to any function. I find its super sleek styling very attractive, and I can’t wait to see what style of bands hit the OEM market.
The device is very narrow, but the AMOLED display is bright; its measurables of 1.45 x 0.9 x 0.44 inches are small, and it weighs just 15 grams without the band and 66 grams with the band. The Apple Watch SESE case weighs (30.49 grams) twice as much, and you can feel the difference.
Fitbit Charge 6 display
The Fitbit Charge 6 AMOLED display is very bright and colorful. I never had an issue reading it in bright sunlight or in the dark. The Charge 6 is rated up to 50 (164 feet) meters of water resistance, earning it an IP68 sweat and water-resistant rating. So you can shower with it and swim in your local pool during workouts without worry. I have showered, washed dishes, and bumped into a few things with the Fitbit on, and it hasn’t scratched, dented, or chipped. The included thick silicon band is very sturdy.
The display is super sensitive and accurate. Flicking between apps and features was a breeze. There are over 30 current watch faces to choose from, and each is customizable to your taste or desired information. I enjoy how simple and easy the Fitbit OS is, and its speed is fantastic. If you need a larger display, I get it. Still, I have grown to deeply appreciate the ultra-slim form factor of the Fitbit Charge 6, as this AMOLED display provides me with all the health and fitness tracking info I need, even tells time, and gives me Google Maps directions when connected to my phone.
Fitbit Charge 6 health tracking
The Fitbit health apps are user-friendly, clear-cut, and function well. From tracking your fitness, heart rate, sleep, readiness, hourly activity, and oxygen levels to reminding you to get up and move, the Fitbit Charge 6 has become my life partner because it is looking out for me. Even meditation apps are included within the phone app, and my favorite is the Coffee meditation.
Optical Heart Rate Sensor
Google applied the same algorithm on the Pixel Watch to Fitbit, improving heart sensor accuracy by 60%. It tracks your heart rate from moment to moment and during workouts. The ECG function is one of my favorites and one I rely on, as well as the AFIB detection. My father suffered from a genetic heart condition most of his life, but sadly, he didn’t know about it until his first heart attack while still in his thirties. I have been blessed not to have this issue, but heart health is something I pay attention to, so the improved sensors mean a great deal to me. I set up the AFIB alert within moments and tried the ECG feature, which worked flawlessly. I also love the fact that I can share the info gathered by the Fitbit and share with my healthcare provider.
The Fitbit collected my pulse data and has monitored me for fluctuations since I put it on. I tested it against a medical-grade finger monitor that we have in our home, and it was very accurate in tracking my heart rate and provided me with way more information than the finger monitor. The Fitbit also monitors your stress levels, which can lead to irregular heart rates, so knowing this information is also vital, and the Fitbit Charge 6 does an excellent job of this with the information provided to you in the app.
SpO2 monitoring: Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been monitoring their blood oxygen levels as a low saturation level could be a significant risk to their health. I own a finger monitor that checks my pulse and blood oxygen saturation levels, and so I used it to gain a comparison. I am happy to report that the results matched 99.9% of the time, and Fitbit provides a deep analysis via the Fitbit application.
As a former smoker, I monitor my levels, and it’s good to see my lungs still function well. The Sp02 software on the watch is immaculate and straightforward to use. The other breathing monitoring function I like is breaths per hour and the Fitbit ability to measure my breathing while I sleep and then alert me to my airflow. I thought that was genius, as I can snore occasionally and worry about airflow while sleeping. Thanks to this handy function, I used to worry, but not anymore.
Fitbit Charge 6 fitness tracking
This Fitbit Charge 6 tracks and monitors your fitness constantly and lets you know how many steps you’ve taken, the distance traveled, calories burned, and much more. I have gotten into the habit of checking my daily stats within the Fitbit app on my phone at the end of the day because all the info is collected for me. I can see things like how much sleep I am getting, what my heart rate is during my more active times, and understand how my heart is functioning and my oxygen levels during physical activities.
Via the readiness scores I have accumulated over the past 6 days, I am learning when are the best times for me to be active based on how my body is performing and functioning throughout the day. This information is a powerful tool that has me making different decisions, like when to get up and get moving (yes, it will remind you to get out of your seat and take a walk) and when are the most effective times for my body to get active.
It will also suggest types of workouts, and if you purchase the premium experience ($9.99 a month or $99 a year if you pay annually), you get all this info, plus over 40 workouts with actual coaches. Which, for me, is a worthy investment. Also, I would rather pay for this than another TV streaming subscription that will keep me on the couch and one day closer to death. You get a 6-month subscription for free with the Charge 6, so you have plenty of time to decide if it’s worth it to you.
Lastly, a “You” section within the app gives you personalized information about your current fitness levels and suggests ways to improve so that it doesn’t feel like someone is nagging you. There are all sorts of badges you earn and goals you can achieve during your normal daily routine. I did go for power walks with it, and it automatically knew I was doing so and started tracking my fitness during my walk. When I broke out into a sprint, it quickly noticed this and tracked my sprint performance, which is not bad for my age, as I still have those athlete genes. I do love that the Fitbit even picked up when I did a light workout with my weights. It’s beyond smart and intuitive.
The Fitbit software covers everything from sleep, activity, health, mindfulness, and nutrition. The app is a complete health monitoring system that is well-designed, and after three days, I felt like it gently encouraged me to be mindful of my daily routines and activities. I really love it. I haven’t been to the gym to connect it to a Tonal, Peloton, or other fitness machine yet. However, knowing the option is there has me wanting to review a Tonal.
Fitbit Charge 6 sleep tracking
The sleep-tracking function has been game-changing for me, as it has been tracking my sleep patterns and sharing with me how I am breathing while asleep and what my heart rates have been. All of this information has been startlingly informative and life-changing. It really put some fears I have to rest, but it also made me realize how important sleep and rest are to my overall health.
Using the app's sleep information, I have started setting sleep goals for myself and noticing the difference in my overall health when I get more than 6 hours of sleep. Although 8 is the recommended, I rarely achieve it. In the last 6 days, I have only slept 8 hours once, averaging 5 hours and 34 minutes of sleep. One day, I slept 3 hours, and another, I slept just 1 hour and 35 minutes. Realizing that I only got deep, healthy sleep for a little over an hour really made me rethink some things.
Fitbit Charge 6 smartwatch features
The Fitbit Charge 6 is considered more of a fitness tracker, which it does excel at. However, it functions beautifully as a timepiece; you can now listen to music via YouTube Music and answer or reject calls. My other favorite use is to pay for things using Google Pay because it's quick and easy.
The other smartwatch feature is Google Maps, which is a breeze to set up within the Fitbit app and, once set up, provides step-by-step directions while connected to your phone. Also, if you’re using Google Maps while walking or biking, you will see a summary of your activity and performance when you reach your destination. Oh, yeah, it tells time too.
Fitbit Charge 6 battery life and charging
Battery life is where the Fitbit Charge 6 is a tiny, potent beast and separates itself from Apple, Samsung, Google, and most other tracking/smartwatches. I never took it off to charge during my six days with it; when I finally took it off to take images for this review, it still had 30% remaining from its first charge. So, you’ll get at least 7 days out of one charge. This is huge when you consider it has an always-on display, and if you adjust that setting, it should go longer.
Adding that battery life to all its monitoring functions is a huge thing because it allows for around-the-clock health information gathering that could save your life.
The Fitbit Charge 6 comes with a small black USB-Type A magnetic charging puck that I leave connected to my dock so that if I take my watch off, I can easily charge and quickly charge it. On average, it takes about an hour to charge the tiny Lithium-polymer battery fully. So basically, it will be fully charged by the time I get out of the shower.
The Fitbit Charge 6 has been one of my favorite wearable experiences. It’s so sleek and light that it meshes with the wearer and feels like it's always been part of you. When you combine all its fitness and health tracking capabilities, battery life, the touch of Google, and price point ($159.95), it's a steal, and I would buy one many times over.
If you’re a smartwatch aficionado, it may not be for you because you may not find it stylish enough. However, with the right band connected to it, it is sleek and sexy, and I would wear it with a suit any day. When you add all the Pixel Watch-inspired improvements to this already winning design, the Fitbit Charge 6 is a fantastic tracker/ wearable option just about anyone can afford. It will become your favorite companion if you’re health-conscious or trying to be.
Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.